GIS, Geomatics, Surveying & Inspection Helikites

Inspections and Monitoring

 

  • Oil and gas pipelines inspections

  • Refinery Inspections 

  • Power Line inspections 

  • Wind turbine inspections 

  • Solar energy farm inspections 

  • Railway & Roads inspections 

  • Bridge safety inspections 

  • River & canal inspections 

  • Structural Safety assessments 

  • Flooding monitoring 

  • Erosion monitoring 

Surveying

  • Buildings

  • Bridges

  • Railways

  • Roads

  • Ports

  • Building sites

blimps for Surveying
Aeria Inspections from above

Geomapping 

  • Asset management

  • Tailings assessment 

  •  Ore assessment 

  • Rockfall Prediction 

  • Volume calculation 

  • Environmental monitoring

  • Roads, rivers, bridges, canals 

  • Safety assessments

  • Flood mapping 

  • Waste management 

In the mid 1990's, Helikites pioneered the use of digital cameras to produce the world's first practical, low cost, Airborne Geo-Information System. Nick Russell of 'Terradat' was the first surveyor to try Helikite photogrammetry to measure the ground, using aircraft measurement software, accurate to 0.4mm.  Then the engineering company Bechtel purchased a system to measure railways. It can very accurately survey 10Km of rail track within two hours while the trains run normally underneath.  This is a huge cost saving, as traditional survey methods take days and only be done with the trains stopped. In New Zealand, NIWA started using Helikites for power line surveys and Helikites became mainstream airborne GIS platforms, now used by numerous operators worldwide

Agriculture

  • Drought Detection

  • Irrigation Leak Detection

  • Irrigation Blockage Detection 

  • Weed Mapping 

  • Fruit assessment 

Research 

  • Archaeology

  • Meteorology 

  • Ecology 

  • Zoology 

  • Botan

Helikites have be used for mapping, archaeology, road surveys, rock-fall monitoring, tailings measurement, river valley erosion, fluvial flow, wave motion, etc.

Helikites can produce excellent multispectral NDVI surveys of crop stress, disease and weed infestation for agriculture and horticulture. 

At sea, Helikites are part of the Norwegian airborne emergency oil spill system. In the USA Helikites measured the extent of the Deepwater Horizon oil slick from boats. 

Airborne GIS using Helikites is an excellent alternative to using aircraft or UAV's.

Blimps for research

Advantages

  • Automatic flight in all weathers.

  • Steady flying platform reduces camera shake.

  • Suitable for every type and make of cameras.

  • Deployment directly from a vehicle within seconds.

  • No mechanical complexity. Unmatched reliability.

  • Capable of very accurate flight profiles.

  • Minimal legal flight restrictions. Fly over towns, railways, roads, etc.

  • Easy to organise Helikite operations compared to manned aircraft or UAV's.

  • No technical knowledge required. Anyone can be flying within minutes.

  • No specialised flight training or exams are required to operate Helikites.

  • Far safer than UAV's or manned aircraft.

  • Helikite fly in winds up to 20m/sec compared to 8m/sec for drones.

  • Helikites are about 10 times cheaper to buy and operate than drones.

  • Helikites can be transported worldwide in passenger luggage.

  • Helikite GIS is more reliable than UAV's or drones.

  • Often far more profitable than UAV's, drones, or manned aircraft.

GIS Sensors

Cameras

 
Helikites can lift almost every type of camera in the world. The Helikite has a unique 'Universal Camera Mount' capable of steadily holding all designs of cameras and pan/tilt gimbals. 
Small, handy Helikites can lift cameras with sensors up to 50 Megapixels. Larger Helikites can lift any GIS camera or sensor up to 40Kg. Many cameras have wireless remote controls or internal intervalometers so it is easy for them to take photos when at height. 

Examples include:
Canon EOS 5DS (50Mp), Nikon D800 (36Mp) Nikon D5200 (24Mp), Sony NEX 7(24 Mp), Ricoh GR2 Digital (12Mp), Pentax Optio W60 (12Mp), GoPro(12Mp) and many others.



LIDAR


Small LIDAR's designed for UAV use can be fitted on a Helikite. This is far easier, cheaper and safer than using a UAV.
 


Magnetometers


Helikites have the size to lift large magnetometers and can hover over areas humans cannot occupy such as minefields, mashes, water, or other types of dangerous terrain.



Meterology Sensors


Tethersondes can be lifted on the Helikite or running up the line to produce real-time wind speed profiles, wind direction, humidity etc.



Radio-Relay & Wi-Fi


Surveyors working in remote areas need comms for safety and to send data back to base. Helikites are superb at persistently lifting radio-relays and WiFi systems. The maximum range obtained so far from small Helikites is 60 miles (11,311 square miles). Large Helikites have increased radio range to 100 miles (31,420 square miles).

Helikite GIS Case Studies & Research

Determination Of Methane Emissions from Livestock Using Meteorological Profiles NIWA

One third of New Zealand's CO2 emissions come from livestock. The New Zealand Institute of Water and Atmosphere (NIWA) used a Skyhook Helikite to simultaneously measure methane concentration and also surface layer wind profiles at various altitudes above grazing animals. 


This data can be used help determine whether this methane may have a significant influence on global warming.

Low-Altitude Blimps (Poor mans Aerial Photography) Joe Wheaton

Project by the Utah State University for assessing the use of a 2m2Skyshot Helikite for fluvial geomorphology surveying and mapping. 

The work concentrated on Bridge Creek, Oregon. The Helikite was used map the area with aerial photos both before and after a flood to reveal significant features. 
The utility of Helikite aerial photography for rapid, inexpensive aerial mapping is discussed.

Remote Sensing of Equine Bermudagrass Pastures from a HelikiteTM CE Dougherty et al.

A 3m3 Skyhook Helikite is used to simultaneously lift a pair of Sony DSC-U30 digital cameras to provide stereo, Near-Infra-Red aerial images. They are used to assess the spatial complexity and condition of a Bermudagrass pasture grazed by horses. 

The raster calculator tool of ArcMap 9.0 was used to overlay RGB and NIR images and geo-referenced for each paddock. Normalized Difference Vegetative Indices (NDVI) were estimated from this relationship: NDVI= (NIR-RED)/(NIR +RED)

Looking through Black-Tinted Glasses – A Remotely Controlled, Infrared Eye in the Sky Geert Verhoeven,1 Jo Loenders

Ghent University Project. A 7m3 Skyhook Helikite is used to assess the feasibility of taking infra-red film photographs for archaeology in Europe. The use of the infra-red spectrum allows features to be observed that are not so noticeable in visible light. 

The camera was lifted successfully creating a practical 'Helikite Aerial Photography' system.

Topographic Structure From Motion: A New Development In Photogrammetric Measurement Mark A. Fonstad et al.

A 1.6m3 Skyshot Helikite is used to enable a ‘structure from motion’ photogrammetric approach (SfM). This could deliver a methodological leap if transferred to geomorphic applications. The applicability of SfM is investigated in the Pedernales River, Texas (USA). 

This test shows that SfM and low-altitude platforms can produce point clouds with point densities comparable with airborne LiDAR, with horizontal and vertical precision in the centimeter range, and with very low capital and labor costs - and low expertise levels.

GIS Software

Since the 1990's tremendous advances have been made in camera technology and in GIS software. 

Now there are numerous  excellent mapping, photogrammetery and remote-sensing programs suitable for airborne applications.  Ortho-correction, mosaicking and terrain extraction are available from various software developers. 

LEICA TRIDICON  -  http://www.tridicon.de/software/tridicon-pointcloud/?L=1

PIX4D MAPPER   -  https://pix4d.com/products/

AGISOFT  -   http://www.agisoft.com/

OPEN SOURCE SOFTWARE  -   https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_geographic_information_systems_software

Mapping

Allsopp Helikites Ltd.

Unit 1 and 2, Fordingbridge Business Park, Fordingbridge, Hampshire. SP6 1BD England UK

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